An independent consultant and strategic advisor since 2020, David was previously the Executive Vice President, Global Chief People Officer at McDonald’s Corporation – one of the world’s largest HR and Training positions with strategic oversight of almost two million employees in over 120 countries.
David is credited as one of the key leaders in delivering the company’s historic business turnaround, which saw the firm’s market capitalization rise from $93bn to$147bn in just 4 years. In doing so, he is one of very few HR leaders to have had the opportunity to deliver a truly global Cultural Transformation program at pace and at scale.
David is widely known as a “disrupter” and thought leader. In 2014 the Financial Times reported his prediction that, within a decade, major global economies would be facing labor shortages on a scale which would impact business growth – a “workforce cliff”. This disruptive insight afforded progressive employers the time to prepare for what became a reality.
David was Group Manager for Organisation Development at H J Heinz; European Director, Recruitment and Leadership Planning at SmithKline Beecham/Glaxo SmithKline; and Corporate HR Director at the retailer Tesco where he also led the Global Talent function.
For four consecutive years David was voted ‘Most Influential Practitioner’ by HR Magazine, receiving their lifetime achievement award in 2012. He was also the first HR professional to be named ‘Business Communicator of the Year’ by the Institute of Internal Communications – a title previously awarded to leading business figures such as Body Shop founder Anita Roddick, and Virgin founder Richard Branson.
David earned his Bachelor’s Degree at Lancaster University and his Master’s Degree at Manchester Metropolitan University Business School which has recognized his ongoing contribution as a Visiting Professor with an Honorary Doctorate in Business Administration. He also holds an Honorary Doctorate in Business Administration from Middlesex University.
In 2011, David was appointed by the UK government to act as a Commissioner for the Commission for Employment and Skills – a role he held until the change of government in May 2015. Previously he had served as a Fellow of the Sunningdale Institute; a virtual academy of leading academics and thought leaders created to advise and advance public service. He has also advised officials and politicians at both the European Commission and the European Parliament.
David has been created a Chartered Companion of the UK’s Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development – their highest honor – where he served for four years as Vice President of Learning, Training and Development. He is also a Fellow of the RSA (Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce) whose mission to “create the conditions for the enlightened thinking and collaborative action needed to address today’s most pressing social challenges”. In the USA he graduated as a Fellow of the prestigious CEO Perspectives program.
Born in 1968 in Wigan – an industrial town in the Northwest of England – David grew up as part of a family of retailers, and amongst his earliest memories are “helping out” in his grandfather’s grocery store. He is married and has four children. He also recently became a proud grandfather.
“David is just one of the best HR people I’ve run into. He has great insight into the business and great instincts on what HR can do to help.” - Dave Ulrich, Rensis Likert Professor at the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business